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Thread: New from Manitoba, WTB a Legacy Wagon BP5

  1. #1

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    Default New from Manitoba, WTB a Legacy Wagon BP5

    Hello all,

    New forum member and hopefully a soon to be JDM owner, currently in the research phase.

    I've wanted a subaru wagon for several years now and am leaning towards the Legacy GT BP5. Unable to find anything in Canada that had fewer than 250k km's on it I had all but given up. That is until I discovered you could import from Japan. Currently researching the steps needed to import, learning about the JDM Legacy BP5's and it's differences vs north american versions, looking into importers vs exporters, customs brokers, etc.

    Anyone with any knowledge about importing these vehicles, tips or suggestions about the process or about what to watch out for at auction would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Hey, I'm in Winnipeg and have an 04 GT-B Legacy wagon. I'd be happy to give you some pointers. You should have no problem finding a pretty good example. There are some great importers on here, or I can introduce you to an auction agent in Japan. A bit cheaper that way, but you get better peace of mind and a very nice selection using some of the established importers on here. You'll also need to decide how much of the process you want to handle yourself. Do you want to pick the car, handle the paperwork, do the customs papers, pick up the car from the yard in BC, and drive it home? Or would you rather write checks and collect the car from the train yard in Winnipeg? There are also a few on kijiji that are frankly, a pretty good deal.

    Then think about the exact BP5 you want. The big difference in GT and GT-B is the bilstein suspension, aluminum control arms, and aero sideskirts. Maybe think about`1 the outbacks, which can also be had with a turbo and are basically the same car except they have fender flares and a slightly higher ride height. The GT B's command a premium in Japan, especially with manuals, so be prepared to pay more if that's what you want. If you're not in a hurry, I think they got 6 speeds from 2005. Mine has a 5 speed which is fine but an extra gear would be nice. Most parts from USDM GTs will fit but you'll have to do some research to find part numbers for some of the engine bits as the JDMs got a 2.0 motor with a twinscroll vs the 2.5 regular turbo motor on the USDM. To pass an MB safety I had to replace the rear hatch backup light, the JDMs come with a red rear fog light in one of the lamps, and of course, add DRLs using the wiring bypass illustrated by a member here. I've also had mine opensource tuned to help it run better on Canadian gas. A good idea but probably not mandatory, I did it because I've also got an intake and exhaust on mine. Think about how you want to proceed and I'm happy to answer questions.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the reply, Olivertwisto.

    Yeah I was actually first drawn to outbacks before I discovered the sportier aesthetic of the Legacy GT and the GT-B. I'm decided on the GT-B, but now it's a matter of trim and edition. WR limited? Tuned by STI? Knowing there's a 6-speed option out there makes me very interested... I'm not likely to purchase in the next year, so i've got time to sit back and wait for the new models to become available in Canada and for the right one to come up at auction.

    I actually have a few questions, if you wouldn't mind giving me your take on it:

    -Block heaters? Do the JDM versions have them. Seems like a necessity if you plan to daily it in Winnipeg through the winter and are parking it outside for any length of time.

    -How much does MPI charge to insure RHD BP5's? Is it significantly more to insure a RHD model vs a LHD of the same type? I've got a clean driving record with the maximum number of points possible, so hopefully that will keep the cost down.

    -Tuning for 91 octane: Makes sense, given that they run 98 octane in Japan. Now, I was under the (obviously mistaken) impression that the JDM ECU's couldn't be tuned. Where/ how did you have yours tuned? Do you have an aftermarket tuning device installed on yours?

    -USDM parts fit! That's fantastic news. I was worried I would spend a fortune importing the most basic pieces from japan if I needed replacements. Are there any resources you have come across that give part numbers, etc. for the JDM's vs USDM's?

    -Blown Turbos: Reading the LegacyGT forums has made me aware that that many of the USDM 2.5L single-scroll Legacy GT's have issues with blown turbo's. If I understand correctly a few factors contributing are clogged filters in the turbo's oil delivery pipe, and perhaps damaged cats in the up pipe sending debris directly into the turbo. Most of the users over there scream "catless up pipe" as the first modification to do. Have you heard of the 2.0 twin's having turbo issues? Worthwhile investment or not necessary on the JDM versions? Do the JDM 2.0's have the banjo filter in the oil delivery line as well?

    -How do you find the DRL mod to be? Worthwhile, or does having the dimmer come on make it a pain.

    Thanks in advance

  4. #4

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    Happy to help. I've seen a couple other BP5's around Winnipeg, it's sure to be a popular import. I might get another as a winter beater! About your questions...

    -Block heaters? Mine didn't have one but it's simply a matter of unscrewing a freeze plug and screwing in the block heater. Part is about 30 bucks online. Not sure what labour will cost but I can't imagine more than an hour at a local shop.

    -How much does MPI charge to insure RHD BP5's? Same situation as you. It's about 1200 a year with slightly upped liability and a $200 deductible.

    -Tuning for 91 octane: You can opensource tune the car. Don't know if accessports or anything like that work, and opensource is a much better option IMHO. Get a tactrix cable and download romraider and ecuflash. You will use those to pull your base map and flash new ones. Any e-tuner can make you a map for a few hundred dollars. You'll also need a wideband 02 gauge, which is a couple hundred bucks. If you're not too tech savvy this method could be challenging tho.

    -USDM parts fit! Yup. I've used the parts fiches on to find the actual subaru part number for what I need and have then sourced them from a variety of places. Suby parts are like lego. For example, I think the upstream o2 sensor is common to 04-08 STI's or something like that. I called the local Subaru stealership for the part and got it the next day. Similarly, I got the part number for the MAF the same way and ordered a genuine denso replacement from rockauto (over a 500 dollar difference from the dealership!).

    -Blown Turbos: Don't get too paranoid. The USDM models had a plastic filter leading to the AVCS that would break and plug the turbo oil galleys. My car didn't have them. Not sure if all JDMs are like that or if I got lucky. It's pretty easy to check. If I ever need to replace my turbo I'll buy used from yahoo auctions and have it shipped over. Or go bigger. Also, JDMs don't have a catted uppipe, so no worries about that cat disintegrating and wrecking your turbo. I replaced my downpipe with a catted HKS unit, sounds amazing and doesn't kill the earth as much, though opensource tuning can get rid of the codes from going catless I think. One thing to note, the downpipe outlet is shaped differently for the twinscroll turbos so I'm not sure how easy it would be to find a downpipe here. Again, check yahoo auctions.

    -How do you find the DRL mod to be? Super easy. One wire, about 15 minutes of work. My car has an information display with a 'bright' button that brings the cluster lighting back to full, so the dimmer in the daytime isn't an issue. For the price and difficulty vs an aftermarket module, I think it's worth it.

  5. #5

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    Awesome, thanks so much for the info! Really appreciate the help.

  6. #6

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    I recently imported a 2003 Legacy Touring Wagon GT Spec.B BP5 and I'm absolutely loving it!! Also I'm in Winnipeg and I ended up using Brian at b-pro. He handled everything for me and the listed prices "stock" on the website is including taxes, duties, and shipping to Vancouver. I opted for another $1035 to ship by rail to Winnipeg and had no issues with the freight forwarder he suggested. He sent me original copies of all the import paperwork, which in Manitoba you will need. Photocopies and photos of paperwork no longer cut it, as unfortunately, my friend is finding out. He has a Legacy since April that is yet to be registered. Mine is registered and on the road within a month of arriving!

    I chose to go to Nemesis Performance to do a full maintenance including spark plugs and all fluids. They added a block heater as well (which is a simple install). I had a bad rear bearing and CV boot that ripped shortly after I got it (or in transit). I was very happy with the work done and the car runs great!

    RE: insurance, it all depends on your driver merits. I'm at the top level and only paying $90/mo. which is pretty well as good as it gets and even slightly cheaper than north american models I believe. The Autopac agents tend to have difficulty and may end up on the phone with MPI who also has no idea how to handle these cars. It requires a lot of patience but I think it's worth it.

    Re: inspection. As mentioned above, I did a one-wire to ground from this forum (sorry don't have the link) but it did dim my display because the car thinks the headlights are on. I may find another solution later, but it passed inspection. My car had an aftermarket spoiler with no rear brake light, but the wiring was there. One LED strip from Princess Auto taped to the rear window and sandwiched between the window and the trim did the trick! I went to Canada Auto and they had no issues inspecting my car. Other shops either won't touch it or tell you that you need DOT everything including seatbelts!!! I think this is BS and if you read the Highway Traffic Act MPI is completely misreading the rules.

    Re: block heater. As mentioned, on the Leagacy I just did a standard block heater. I have now imported a 2002 Forester XT and did my own oil pan heater ($69 on sale at Princess Auto). Cleaned the oil pan really well, stuck it on the bottom and ran the cord up so that it wasn't touching anything hot. Done! They both work about the same, but the oil pan heater heats the oil and the block heater heats the coolant. In my opinion, esp. for a turbo car, warmer oil is better than warmer coolant. Either way, i let my cars warm up a long time (like 10 mins) before driving.

    Re: parts. Canada Auto has worked on my Forester for a O2 sensor issue. I forgot to tell them the engine is the same as a WRX so they initially got the wrong O2 sensor. They found the right one, installed it and i got my car back same day.

    I went with Subaru rather than a Nissan Stagea or Mitsubishi Legnum because I thought it would be much easier to find parts. Once you find the north american equivalent car/engine it is better. That said, the Subaru dealer basically won't touch the JDM cars, so you have to find a good shop willing to work with you and there are many in Winnipeg. Best of luck and keep us updated on what you end up doing!

  7. #7

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    I've seen a few LGT-B wagons around now and always wave. What colour is yours? Mine's black with, with an aftermarket grille and 18 inch work emotions (in the summer), and some early 2000's LGT aluminum rims for winter. We should have a BP5 meet when it gets warmer.

    Good advice about the shop. I took my car to a gas station that was recommended as JDM friendly and they checked EVERYTHING and made me change out the rear backup light, which I know was not necessary since every other BP5 I've seen here still has the original. Wish I'd known before. Out of curiousity, and feel free to PM me if you don't want to share publicly, what did you pay for block heater install and CV boot repair? I'm in need.

  8. #8

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    Thanks for all the info guys. This is really helpful!

  9. #9

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    The Legacies from Japan are pretty nice, fairly popular too over here in Alberta. I won't go too in depth here unless anyone else is interested (can't seem to find hardly any active users on the threads that are relevant to me.) I've owned my '02 BH5 GT-B for 2 years as I'm typing. One of the first things that is a good idea is to get the coolant changed to something that can appropriately work in our weather here in the prairies. While you do that it's absolutely worth it to get a block heater installed; even if you don't plan on driving it in the winter, just nice to have piece of mind if you did need to use the car in the winter cause life happens aha. Something else to be aware of that i don't seem to hear people talk about is the center diff. They aren't unrealistically hard to cook. Make sure that you have matching tires and wheels on at all times! make sure the tread wear is very close on all 4 tires (unfortunately I can't remember the exact amount of wear difference that you need to start being concerned around but just make sure it's not too bad) and most importantly make sure to get it aligned and ask the shop to get the camber and toe as close as possible between all 4 wheels. Tire pressure and properly balanced tires too obviously. Check the transmission fluid too before you start regularly driving it. The dipstick on my model is located to the left and under the inter cooler. Given that when we buy these cars from japan we really don't have any idea of what sort of maintenance has been regularly done and what has been neglected. Usually most of the cars we have imported are in decent to great shape on average but it's never smart to assume when it comes to these things. I can't speak for the insurance and inspection part of the post as i live in Alberta and we do things a little differently here I think. My insurance however did not cost more due to it being a RHD. However it is more annoying of a task to find a company that will do more then just PLPD. Fuel and octane do matter but unless your running a significantly different setup than stock you shouldn't be too worried about tuning it. I use to use Husky premium but have since switched over to Shell V-power as it has 0 ethanol in it, I occasionally run octane booster but don't see too big of a difference usually- maybe slightly better gas mileage. One thing that I should absolutely mention is that you will likely smell gas in the cabin during colder weather, if that is the case then you need to get new rubber fuel lines. This wasn't a problem with just JDM Subaru's but a lot of older ones up until the late 2000's is when they addressed this problem. Could be the clamps or the hoses. Easy fix so long as the shop gets the correct size of line.
    Overall the Legacy wagons are awesome, just have to be patient for the first little while as you give the car a shakedown to identify any possible problems. Always run premium gas and a good synthetic oil like Penzoil ultra platinum. I could go on and on but I feel like that's probably a waste of my time. If you have any questions shoot me a message! I'm fairly knowledgeable on these wagons.

  10. #10

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    Sending you a PM!

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